Interfaith Vigil strengthens bonds of unity

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Donna mayor 2 mayor me and team Mike Starchuk people Randeep SukhSurrey: Although Alexandre Bissonette made his voice heard through terror and violence by killing innocent and defenceless Canadians, the overarching voice of the Canadian spirit aspires to embrace the fruits of the spirit: compassion, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, forbearance, fortitude, grace, healing, kindness, mercy, love, patience, peace, self-control and understanding.

A vigil prayer for the victims of Quebec Islamic Cultural Center at Holland Park in Surrey was attended by about one hundred people with the aim to show solidarity with the victims’ families and to bring together generations of people from different faiths to promote peace and understanding in a world faced with extremism and violence. Linda Hepner, Mayor of Surrey, Councillor Mike Starchuck and a myriad of MPs and MLAs condemned the savage attack in the strongest terms possible. A strong presence of faith-based and non-profit organizations made it clear that we will conquer hate with compassion, love, understanding and justice.

Sikandar and Suzanne Hayat reflect on why the Amazing Tutors Children’s Foundation organized this event: “Our sincere hope is to protect and help our communities cope and build resilience in a rapidly changing world characterized with high levels of extremism. Terror has no place anywhere and it is a horrific crime committed against humanity. One way to stop acts of terrorism is to educate children and young people about Islam and other faiths in accord with strong curricula based on research findings. We can pursue a long term strategy which instills in them the desire to act intelligently, wisely and prevent them from becoming enemies of the state. The fruits of such an inclusive, educational program will be a caring and giving community made up of compassionate, forgiving, respectful, tolerant, and trustworthy citizens.”

We feel that people who are involved in hateful and religiously intolerant activities do not represent the majority of Canadians. From across Canada, the myriad stream of faith groups are promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperation to end politically and religiously motivated violence. We aim to create cultures of compassion, respect, peace, understanding and healing for all living beings on earth. We feel that no one has the right to take away a person’s spiritual free will and self-determination, nor their underlying strength, and we are doing everything within our power to fight for peace and condemn this horrific attack. We need to be engaged in a process of healing that is collaborative, enhancing, inclusive, practical, pro-active and responsible. We must stand united together to create a society of love and justice. These horrific attacks on innocent civilians are really meant to divide us; however, with love and justice as our common shield, we can recognize our differences and strive to be the best human being.

Any savage attacks on innocent civilians, whether they occur in Canada, Syria, Paris, Beirut, Brussels, Pakistan, USA or in any other city or country, are heinous and without justification. We stand in solidarity and condemn these demonic, horrific acts in the strongest terms possible. Today, our thoughts are with the loved ones of those killed and injured.